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Have a Cup of Tea for Your Health

Tea has been associated positively with human health for centuries. It is modern science that has helped to add some facts to the argument. What are the benefits and are there any downsides? If tea is good, where does that leave coffee?

The Health Benefits of Drinking Tea.

Anti cancer: Tea contains antioxidants in the form of flavinoids. These give documented results in being anti cancer with the reduction in risk for cancer of the skin, breast, lung, colon, oesophagus and bladder.

Anti tooth decay: Tea contains fluoride and in conjunction with the tannins in tea, has been shown to reduce the numbers and inhibit the growth of bacteria in the mouth that would otherwise produce acid that can cause tooth decay. There are other effects like changing the stickiness of bacterial cells too but all this means is tea is beneficial to your oral health.

Reduction in the risk of heart attacks: The reduction in the incidence of the risk of a fatal heart attack is between 44 and 70%, depending on which research group. Reduction in the risk of developing high blood pressure: Regular tea drinkers have a reduced risk of developing high blood pressure cited by as much as 50%.

Reduction in the risk of Rheumatoid arthritis: In older women, the tea drinkers have a 60% less chance of developing this crippling disease. Increased bone health: For women in the 70 to 85 age group, tea drinkers had a 3% higher bone mineral density as measured at the hip, than non tea drinkers and correspondingly lost 1.6% of bone density compared to a 4% loss in non tea drinkers as they aged. The loss of bone health was less in the tea drinking group.

Increase in metabolism: If you drink green tea, it will help you lose weight by increasing your metabolic rate. On average, you could consume about an extra 80 calories a day with no gain if you were drinking green tea.

Hydration: We all need water to live and tea can be a significant contributor to your hydration levels.

It makes you feel good, comforted, at peace: As they say, there is nothing like a good cup of tea. Even in the worst of times, the act of making and drinking a cup of tea, your hands warmed by the cup, is a wonderful emotional stabilizer.

The Negatives of Tea Drinking: With so much good there has to be a catch. Luckily there are very few.

Reduction in the absorption of iron: The Harvard Women’s Health Watch group advises the absorption of iron may be reduced when drinking tea, iron being the essential core of blood. However, the addition to tea of either lemon or milk overcomes this problem.

Tea contains caffeine: Caffeine can be an issue, particularly in some groups. Caffeine affects the levels of dopamine, a chemical in the brain’s pleasure centre, which makes you feel as though you have more energy even when you don’t. Those that are caffeine sensitive may have irritation of the stomach or bowel. Caffeine can make some people irritable, anxious and restless. In those suffering from cardiovascular disease, it can cause an increase in heart rate. Pregnant women have an increased risk of miscarriage and risk giving birth to babies with low birth weight. In women generally, caffeine can increase issues with those that suffer from PMS and cystic breasts. It is accepted, children should not be subjected to high levels of caffeine.

Let’s get caffeine in perspective: Green tea has a caffeine level of 20mg per cup, black tea 30- 40mg. Coffee contains 2-3 times that amount. Cola drinks are around the 25mg mark but the energy drinks can be more than the amount found in coffee.

Hydration. Caffeine is a diuretic; it makes you want to go to the toilet. It has been argued that drinking tea has negatives effect on hydration levels as a result of this. It has now been established this is only an issue should a person drink 5-6 cups at one time.

And what about Tea Compared to Coffee? Funnily enough, coffee also contains a good number of antioxidants. There have been demonstrated positive effects in lowering the risk of developing Parkinson’s disease and in the reduction of the risk to certain cancers. However, these have been with large intakes of coffee. At this point, the issues associated with caffeine might over ride this. Remember too, 100mg of caffeine a day can be addictive.

The final point: When we are talking tea here, we are talking of steeped tea, a pot or bag of tea leaf, usually steeped for 3 minutes or so. The levels of antioxidants are much lower in iced tea or instant tea. Much in the same way with coffee, the positives are associated with natural ground bean coffee, not the other forms.

Tea, glorious tea. Drink up and be healthy.

¨ If you are cold, tea will warm you. If you are too heated, it will cool you. If you are depressed, it will cheer you. If you are excited, it will calm you. ~Gladstone, 1865

¨ If man has no tea in him, he is incapable of understanding truth and beauty. ~Japanese Proverb

Published: Oct 12, 2008 6:36pm by shaun.

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1 comment


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